The Boys' Brigade (BB) was founded in Glasgow, Scotland on 4 October 1883, by Sir William Alexander Smith. It spread rapidly to North America, Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, the BB did not appear in the Asian scene until 1915, when the first Company was founded in the Chinese city of Swatow by the Rev Guthrie Gamble (the famous Swatow BB was to become a legend in later years in China). The BB came to South East Asia in 1930 with the founding of the 1st Singapore Company by Mr James Fraser.
The Boys' Brigade did not come to Malaya until after the second World War. A British soldier, by the name of Robert Davis (a former Captain of 6th Birkenhead Company at the Tranmere Freehold Methodist Church and later Tranmere United Reformed Church), gave the idea of The Boys' Brigade to one of Penang's great educationist, the late Mr Geh Hun Kheng, who accepted the challenge of becoming the first BB Captain in Malaya. Mr Geh realised that he had to do his "small share" to win the Boys over from the various subversive groups, that were so rife after the Pacific War. The first meeting of 20 Boys was held in one of the Methodist churches in Madras Lane, on a Sunday in September 1946. Penang, thus, became the springboard from which Companies were started first in Kuala Lumpur and then in other parts of the country. When Malaysia achieved independence on 31 August 1957, The Boys' Brigade was given the honour of being invited to take part in the Merdeka Parade (Independence Day Parade).
After Merdeka (Independence), The Boys' Brigade began to spread rapidly, due to the formation of the Malayan Council of The Boys' Brigade, under the initiative of Mr Khoo Oon Soo. Hence, more Companies were founded in every major town in Malaya. As time progressed, with efforts, even small rural towns began to have BB Companies functioning efficiently. By this time, a firm and friendly contact had been made with the BB in Singapore, which helped in the supply and sale of equipment and with the founding of the first Company in Borneo in 1959, the 1st Kuching Company. In 1962, the BB in Malaya became a member of the Pacific Regional Fellowship (and subsequently joined the later-formed East Asia Regional Fellowship), and the first Pacific camp was held, with the co-operation of the Singapore Battalion, in Port Dickson, in December 1963.
On 5 December 1964, the (former) Federation of the Malayan Council of The Boys' Brigade, the Singapore Battalion and the 1st Kuching Company merged into The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia.Unfortunately, with the political separation of Singapore from Malaysia, The Boys' Brigade in Singapore ceased to be a component District of The Boys' Brigade in Malaysia, as of 19 August 1965. With Malaysia becoming a reality, the National Council began to establish Companies in Sabah and Sarawak, whilst maintaining friendly ties with the BB in Singapore.
The development of The Boys' Brigade in Malaysia took a revolutionary turn, when it invited girls to be members. It was first introduced in 1989 and was debated for a few years before experimental measures were approved in 1992. The move received favourable response and strong support from churches and individuals. On 2 April 1994, the National Council adopted the proposal to allow Girls to join the Boy’s Brigade. Thus, a section, called the "Girls' Wing", was incorporated.
As at today, over 20 companies in the BBM have girls on their membership roll, and many girls have been appointed NCOs, and they have proven to be capable in adapting well to the activities of the BB.
Since 1992, The Boys' Brigade in Malaysia had also begun to play a significant role in the extension of BB work in the East Asia Regional Fellowship, including conducting training and supporting BB works in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Today, there are over 120 Companies spread throughout the length and breadth of Malaysia. Ever since the setting up of a BB HQ in 1989, a permanent building, along Jalan Anak Gasing, had been purchased, and currently staffed by a team of 5 abled, full-time personnel.
The Boys' Brigade in Malaysia has come a long way, since its establishment in 1946.Many things have, since, changed. Many have come and gone, with many new developments taken place. Throughout these years, the BBM has been able to hold on to its object and continue in serving the youth of Malaysia. As the nation is fast-moving towards greater heights in development, it is believed that the BB shall be called on to play an even greater role, in the development and training of the Malaysian youths
The Boys' Brigade is recognised by the Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (Malaysian Ministry of Education), as a school’s extra-curricular (aka co-curricular) activity, whereby participation in the Brigade, at school, district, state, national and international levels, will award the students with extra-curricular points. This, also, includes taking part in competitions or events, at the mentioned levels.